23 September 2012

The University of Queensland has committed to the development of a major online open learning environment.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said heads of school, deans and other senior academic leaders had embraced a University vision to move toward the development of a major online open learning environment.

“The initiative is an integral component of the new UQ blueprint for technology-enhanced learning, recently released to staff,” Professor Terry said.

It was captured in a discussion paper entitled: “A learning community in a time of standardisation: How does UQ get there?” disseminated in May this year.

“The initiative will create MOOCs for the world and a richer place-based learning experience for UQ students,” Professor Terry said.

“UQ will open selected course content to the world.”

MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, is a type of online course aimed at large-scale participation and open access via the web.

The Director of UQ’s Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (CEIT), Professor Phil Long, said the Centre “is exploring opportunities"
to work with other institutions such as with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Office of Educational Innovation & Technology on how campus-based students can simultaneously benefit and participate in richer learning experiences through online education.

Between one and two courses from each of the six faculties will be made accessible online in a MOOC format over the coming two years.

“Opening up course content for participation broadly enables other Australians and interested learners from around the world to see the inherent value of the UQ Advantage, and the unique design and structure of courses in a research-intensive, learning-focused university curriculum,” Professor Long said.

“Sharing such learning opportunities can go a long way toward increasing public awareness of tertiary learning.

“Our primary interest, however, is exploring how providing this content online enables new opportunities for our on-campus learning environment.”

Professor Terry said this project represented the first step in strengthening the UQ online learning presence.

It comes as part of a range of initiatives currently underway at UQ in this field.

They include:

• Exploring the flipped classroom model in engineering (Associate Professor Carl Reidsema, ENGG1200);

• Investigating how students engage with different modalities of feedback (Dr Kirsten Zimbardi, Professor Phil Long, Drs. Peter Hay and Craig Engstrom, UQMarkUp); and

• Developing new learning designs for professional development (Professor Robert Hendy, CIPL).

Media: Professor Phil Long Centre for Educational Innovation & Technology, Telephone +61 7 3365 9131, Email: longpd@uq.edu.au